This 5-Minute Dungeon review was made after playing the game 30+ times.
What is 5-Minute Dungeon?
In 5-Minute Dungeon, a real-time cooperative card game, players attempt to fight their way through a dungeon and, hopefully, take down the final boss. 5-Minute Dungeon was designed by Connor Reid and is published by Wiggles 3D.
5-Minute Dungeon Gameplay
To set up a game of 5-Minute Dungeon, everyone will get a hero mat and a deck of cards matching their hero’s color (in two-player games, each player mixes two decks together). Then you’ll set up the dungeon deck based on the boss you’re facing and the number of players playing.
Everyone will have slightly different decks of cards. The color of your hero will tell you which color/icon type you’ll specialize in, and you’ll have some unique action cards.
Throughout every game of 5-Minute Dungeon, players will collectively be playing cards that match the icons on the dungeon cards. There are also mini bosses, which have more icons on them that you’ll need to match, and event cards that can make you discard your hand, pass your hand, and do other things to slow you down.
The cards you play stay out on the table, so you won’t be able to play them again during that game. You’ll only place cards in your discard pile when you use your special ability or when cards tell you to. When you do play or discard cards, you can always draw up to your starting hand size.
You’ll win if your team is able to get through an entire dungeon deck and take down the final boss. You’ll lose if time runs out, if no one can play the cards in their hands, or if everyone has run out of cards. When you defeat a boss, you can then increase the difficulty by attempting to take down the next boss.
- 5-Minute Dungeon is INTENSE in the best of ways. You’re playing cards, talking to each other, figuring out the best abilities to use, and flipping dungeon cards at a super-fast pace. It’s awesome.
- This is about as cooperative as cooperative games get. No one can get through the dungeon on their own. Heck, it’s even rare for one person to take down two monsters in a row. You have to work with each other to figure out the best way to approach each card in the dungeon.
- This is one of the easiest co-op games to learn. Everyone understands how to match icons on cards, and the rest of the game is just reading what’s on the event and action cards.
- It’s great that there are ways to stop the clock and regroup. Like I said, this game is intense so it’s nice to be able to take a breather and figure out the best way to approach the next dungeon card or two.
- The unique special abilities are pretty much all great because the team relies on each one. It’s a great feeling when you have no useful cards and someone discards three of their cards to let you add more to your hand.
- All of the voices on the 5-Minute Dungeon app are fantastic and help to get everyone into the monster-fightin’ mood. The “Fearful” voice seems to be everyone’s favorite, but they’re all good. You can use any timer you want, but I highly recommend using the app.
- The artwork on the box, mats, and cards is excellent.
- Cleanup can be a bit of a pain. Everyone’s cards are mixed up on the table after every game, so you have to sort them out before starting a new game. You also have to reconfigure the dungeon deck every round.
- The game does play well at all player counts, but the early bosses seem to be much easier with more players. We consistently beat the Baby Barbarian (Boss #1) with around two minutes left on the timer when playing a five-player game.
- Even though everyone I’ve played this with has enjoyed it, I think it might be a bit too stressful for some people. Plenty of folks prefer to sit back, relax, and think about each move they’re going to make when playing board games, and 5-Minute Dungeon does not allow for any of that.
I’m actually not usually a huge fan of real-time games, but I like 5-Minute Dungeon as much as everyone else I’ve played it with. In fact, it’s currently #1 on our top real-time games list! Each game is quick, intense and, best of all, extremely fun.
I’m not sure about the game’s long-term replayability yet, but I’ve played it over 30 times now and still look forward to playing it again… and again… and again. Plus, my group is not going to stop playing until we beat the final boss, The Dungeon Master! (<— that might never happen)
The only people I wouldn’t recommend 5-Minute Dungeon to are those who don’t like the stress that comes with playing this type of real-time game. If you’ve played FUSE and it was more stressful than fun for you, then you should probably pass on this one. Everyone else should definitely give 5-Minute Dungeon a try.
Update: They have now released 5-Minute Marvel! I’ve heard it’s basically the same game but with a bunch of Marvel characters.